Do you know the risk factors that could lead to a stroke? According to Marcus B Nicol and Amanda G Thrift, “in general, there appears to be low levels of knowledge of both risk factors and stroke warning signs.”
Many of these stroke risk factors can be controlled and managed to lower the risk of a stroke occurring. For this reason, it is essential to understand these risk factors and learn what steps to take to improve your health.
Vivage, with locations throughout Colorado and Missouri, hopes to bring awareness to stroke risk factors and what you can do to potentially help prevent a stroke.
Controllable Stroke Risk Factors
“Controllable risk factors account for 90% of all strokes.” – Valley Health
High Blood Pressure
According to the American Stroke Association, “high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of stroke and the most significant controllable risk factor.” It is important to know what healthy blood pressure levels are for you and work with your doctor to keep your blood pressure within this healthy range.
High Blood Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is another major stroke risk factor. When too much cholesterol is in the bloodstream, it can build up and cause blood clots, leading to a stroke. By controlling your cholesterol levels, you can lower your risk of a stroke and heart disease.
“If you’re an adult 20 or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as necessary (stroke.org).”
Obesity has been linked to a variety of health problems and conditions. In addition to these other health concerns, carrying excess body weight can be a stroke risk factor due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissue. Take control of your health and manage your weight in order to lower your risk of having a stroke.
If an individual is overweight, has high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol (which are already controllable stroke risk factors), adding either type 1 or type 2 diabetes to the mix increases their risk of having a stroke.
Beyond lowering your risk of stroke, quitting smoking can also decrease your risk of developing certain cancers, improve your immune system, and improve oral hygiene.
The way you nourish and feed your body directly affects how it functions and your overall health. Consuming a diet that is high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans-fat raises blood cholesterol levels.
In addition, high sodium consumption leads to high blood pressure, and eating or drinking high amounts of calories can cause unnecessary weight gain. All of these effects of a poor diet are individual stroke risk factors. As written by the American Stroke Association, “a diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke.”
It is no secret that physical activity and exercise play a major role in our health and overall wellness, providing many benefits. Refraining from physical activity, however, can increase your risk of stroke. Exercise helps your body to function properly, so make physical activity a priority in your everyday life.
Uncontrollable Stroke Risk Factors
Although there are many stroke risk factors that you can control, there are also risk factors that are out of your control, including:
Age – While a stroke can occur at any age, “the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55 (strokecenter.org).”
Gender – Women have a higher risk of stroke than men.
Family History – Strokes can be caused by genetic disorders, so you may be at greater risk if a member of your family has had a stroke.
Previous Stroke – An individual who has had a stroke in the past is at a much higher risk of having another one than someone who has never had a stroke.
At Vivage, we are committed to providing quality, people-focused care that promotes the overall health and wellness of each individual who stays with us. Our services, as well as our life-enrichment programs, are designed to provide individuals with opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle.